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Thomo37
08-04-2011, 05:27 PM
After an absence of 23 years I am returning to chess and I must say it is quite astounding to compare the state of chess locally crica 1988 to the current day.

Firstly it is apparent that the same stalwarts at local chess clubs are still running them 20 years on (bless their dedication). What is sad to see is that many juniors like myself continue to leave the game at 18 and never find their way back.

From my WA perspective I remember names like, Gina Soto-Olivo, Colin Lau, Colleen Lau, and many other that I sparred with in Junior tournaments who never stayed with the game. When I left the game in 88 the inter-club tournament (Harris Shield) was held with teams over 4 boards and 6-7 weeks of home and away fixtures and if memory serves over 3 divisions. Now we have a token 4 board 2 round match and thats it! Similarly I have noticed that a number of clubs have fallen away (Kelmscott, Midland, Duncraig).

Certainly this is not a reflection on those regulars who have stayed with the game but as I become more acquainted with the running of the game I am keen to understand what continues to constrain a game that has great inter-school and junior following that doesn't readily translate to regular senior representation.

I will post more on my observations shortly...oh and once again this is no criticism on what I suspect are volunteer efforts but my first point of reference for my return to the game was the local and also ACF website. Dear or dear the ACF website needs a severe face-lift! It is the least inviting and most stylistically poor looking webpage I have ever seen. Please, please at least spell check and learn how to spell subscribe. Ugly ugly ugly.

Garvinator
08-04-2011, 05:40 PM
Certainly this is not a reflection on those regulars who have stayed with the game but as I become more acquainted with the running of the game I am keen to understand what continues to constrain a game that has great inter-school and junior following that doesn't readily translate to regular senior representation.On this issue, almost every state suffers from this.

What seems to occur is that quite a few juniors who are involved in interschool chess start to say to themselves that all they want to play is interschool chess and they have no real desire to participate in club or weekend chess.

Also quite a lot of the interschool players are there mainly to get out of school, so when you ask them to commit to a weeknight or weekend, that requires them to have to actually make a choice between differing priorities and so when chess is rated by them as a very low priority, they do not participate.

So the interschool numbers are mainly illusionary. It does increase the total numbers available so a few might cross over, but personally I think for getting juniors involved in weekend tournaments and club chess, after school programs at non school venues and junior clubs might be a better bet.

Thomo37
08-04-2011, 06:07 PM
Yes I certainly concur with that view. As junior I wasn't cognizant of strategy's undertaken by the federation and local bodies to set a strategy and push forward with the game collectively but 23 years on as a business professional I would like to get involved.

In someways it is quite sad to see the local administrators working so hard and yet 20+ years on to have fewer clubs and average membership. I am interested to know what the administration has been like nationally, i recognize Gary Wastells name from the nationals in Perth in 1988 where he crushed my poor patzer self in one of the rounds. Is the national body driving change, strategy etc. Is it unified and supported locally through the local bodies?

Certainly cant be easy as chess players the adage 'herding cats' seems quite appropriate.

Will be interesting to get back to the clubs and get a vibe for what is going on.

Denis_Jessop
08-04-2011, 09:54 PM
I have seen a similar phenomenon in Canberra chess where the number of active adult players has fallen dramatically since about the beginning of the 1980s. As a result we have very few players in the 20 to 45 age group whereas in the 1970s we had a lot.

We, like everyone else, also suffer from the other phenomenon of failure to retain junior players once they become adults.

I think that a reasonably close look at Australian chess will reveal that the second has been the case for as long as one can remember. The difference now is that for the last 20 years or so junior chess has been so well organised that literally thousands of children have learnt to play. Still, the huge numbers are at primary level and fall off dramatically by the end of secondary school. But few players have continued on into adulthood. This natural occurrence of the past has been exacerbated by the factors mentioned below.

I believe that the first is largely a result of greatly changed social conditions since the 1970s. Increasing pressures on people to work longer hours (for little return) plus the age of greed (1980 on) combine to make it difficult for people to go to chess clubs (or any other clubs except ones with poker machines). Finally, chess itself has under gone a change with the availability of on-line play which is very attractive both to juniors and others.

It is a complex situation to which there is no easy answer or perhaps no answer at all.

DJ

ChessGuru
14-04-2011, 05:32 PM
The ACF has remained the same since the 80's (or longer) while the world around them changes more and more rapidly. Like typewriter salesmen who whine that they don't sell as many typewriters as they used to. :wall:

Thomo, I'd recommend you take an active leadership role on the ACF and perhaps work towards modernising the product that is on offer to make it more appealing to the tens of thousands of kids who are playing chess at primary school but then choose not to continue into adulthood. Good luck with that. :)

The ACF structure (which has the same people running it 20 years on) continues to blame the rest of the world for not wanting to buy what they have to offer, rather than simply evolving and adapting to what the market actually wants.

Don't blame circumstances, take responsibility and change, change, change until you get the result you want!

Kevin Bonham
15-04-2011, 01:19 AM
Thomo, I'd recommend you take an active leadership role on the ACF and perhaps work towards modernising the product that is on offer to make it more appealing to the tens of thousands of kids who are playing chess at primary school but then choose not to continue into adulthood.

Indeed, I suggest that we do this by closely mimicking the product available to them in their interschool days. To this end we will arrange for all entry fees to be paid by an adult's parents (even if those parents are no longer alive) or failing that their employers. Furthermore all tournaments will be held on weekdays, and most employers will allow their employees to take most of the day off work (and even pay them in lieu of it) a few times a year in order to participate, in view of the clear benefits of occasional chess participation for employee productivity. We are also well aware that even 40 year olds will dutifully rock up to play in tournaments if their parents want them out of the house for a few quiet hours of inexpensive childcare. Furthermore, as university studies distract many eighteen year olds we will demolish all universities at once.

I'm sure it will work ... after all there is no such thing whatsoever as external factors that are beyond our allegedly limitless control-freakery. :lol:

(Seriously, post-junior dropout is still a problem, but there are natural explanations for the bulk of it, so it is easy to exaggerate comparisons.)

ChessGuru
15-04-2011, 11:28 AM
And things aren't as bad as they seem... look at the next Olympiad team... Zhao, Smerdon, Xie, Ly, Morris, Cheng, Brown, Ikeda. None of them over 30...

In fact you could have an U20 team that would finish in almost the same place...

ER
15-04-2011, 01:57 PM
And things aren't as bad as they seem... look at the next Olympiad team... Zhao, Smerdon, Xie, Ly, Morris, Cheng, Brown, Ikeda. None of them over 30...

In fact you could have an U20 team that would finish in almost the same place...

Glad to see you being a part of the Olympiad selection team! :lol:

Desmond
15-04-2011, 02:06 PM
... I am keen to understand what continues to constrain a game that has great inter-school and junior following that doesn't readily translate to regular senior representation.
I am keen to hear of a sport/game where that is not the case.

sleepless
16-04-2011, 11:47 PM
In the independent school sector I'm involved in chess is just one of many activities on offer. Most children in my school would play one or more instruments, engage in a summer and winter school sport, and possibly also be a member of an outside club.

A lot of adult chess players and administrators just play chess. I assume they don't see any structural weaknesses in the system and do things the same way they've been done in the past. Tournament winners receive prize money, yet the hosting association or club often runs on a shoestring budget and rents accommodation. Donations don't go towards a building fund.

When choices do need to be made by young adults, the quality of coaching and facilities, socialization opportunities, and gender balance comes into play. Sporting clubs do it better.

littlesprout85
17-04-2011, 09:15 PM
Ummmm,

Glad to see that you have returned to the world of chess tomo :cool:

It seems to meh that Mischa had a similar thread on this topic a while back.:confused: Perhaps one of the mods can look into melding the two threads together.

Sprout is really thinking that the youth & alot of 20's use alot of excuses of why they left chess.But these youth fail to lay blame where it all originates from (themselves):wall:

Meh is blaming it on laziness. Chess is a game that isnt easily mastered. Takes yrs of dedication to gain fame. Also The youth ask- "wheres the $ for the yrs of service to the chess cause." So they dont even bother with it at all. This is due mainly on them not seeing any rich chess tycoons running around locally in their hoods. Instead the youth think that everything is going to be handed to them on a silver platter. After All they are known as the entitled generation & before this bunch was generation x.

They(youth) learn the game of chess and get attention at first playing the game cause it is hard, After the glitter wears off and the parents attention goes elsewhere the youth give up chess fast. This time around m8's the youth is gearing themselves towards blow it all high stakes poker & then holding up the public to foot da bill :eek: Stateside its the full tilt vegas lifestyle that the youth craves. Chess isnt getting anyone to their Logans Runs Lifestyle at all. Better just to go practice 7 card stud m8's & relax.

-Sprout85 =)